she said, when I told her I wasn’t considering applying for jobs outside of the most centrally-located school board this coming winter. She had just told me of a new hiring pool being opened in a suburban board not too far from here. Not too far. May as well be an ocean away for someone with no car, with other responsibilities.
We all make choices, it’s true. If I am to ascribe positive intent to her words, I can see that the intention was to ensure that I knew all my options so I could make informed choices. But here’s the thing: just because we all have choices doesn’t mean we all have the same choices.
I, as single parent with a support network that often feels tenuous compared to what i once had, cannot afford to leave the city in the hope of finding work. I can’t. This actually isn’t a choice, as to leave what I have leaves me with nothing, and I am not in a position where nothing is a feasible option.
I do not drive. Legally, I can, but the effort it takes to maintain my executive functioning to do so successfully is exhausting and anxiety-triggering.
One of the reasons for my going into teaching was to have as close to the same schedule and routine as my kids as possible. Commuting 3 hours a day defeats the purpose of making that choice, as it would make me that much less accessible to them.
I am not going to move my children to the suburbs. Ever. It would hamper their ability to be independent, the communities are not walkable, and the ‘burbs are not a good place for adolescents to learn how to stay out of trouble.
I am also not moving my children to new schools one year before they’d have to change schools again. Shifting the average child to a new school just for grade 6 or grade 8 is cruel. My kids are not average. We would lose so much ground if I did that to them.
So here I am, writing all this out because I feel this overwhelming need to defend myself against what I’ve perceived as judgment of my poor prioritizing. Perhaps I should have stuck with a simple, “Sure, yep. That’s me, I’m all about imposing arbitrary limits.” Or maybe just a simple, “It’s not that simple,” and left it at that. What I really wanted to leave that conversation with was something akin to “Go fuck yourself,” but as I am a lady, I chose instead to hold my tongue.
Yep. I’m really limiting myself. Or, I’m setting healthy boundaries and expectations of what is feasible for my life. Judge away. I’ll live. And I’ll be doing that living downtown, thanks.